GOP sees ‘huge red wave’ potential by targeting critical race theory

The attack on racism research in the United States emerged as one of the main drivers of the Republicans’ culture war in 2021. But state lawmakers have only just begun to focus on the issue that promises to dominate Red States parliaments across the country this year.

Legislators in at least a dozen Republican-controlled states – including Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio – plan to pass dozens of laws in the coming legislatures aimed at ending doctrines about race and society and giving parents more say in discussions to enter classroom.

There is a clear incentive to power: Republicans will be strengthened by the party’s campaign in Virginia in November, where education was a hot topic, and intend to campaign for such bills ahead of the midterm elections.

“There is a huge red wave,” said Seitz, pastor and business owner, in an interview. “Virginia is just a microcosm of the rest of the United States.”

Critical Race Theory is an analytical framework originally developed by legal scholars to study how race and racism have been enshrined in American laws and institutions since slavery and Jim Crow. Many conservatives began to use critical racial theory as a shorthand for a broader criticism of how race and social issues are taught in the K-12 educational system.

Her criticism centers on the belief that white students are said to be oppressors because of their race. The nation-building history class, which adopts some of the principles of Critical Racial Theory, in turn promotes discrimination against white students and portrays students of color as victims. They fight.

However, most public school officials across the country say they do not teach a curriculum based on theory, even in counties and states where law enforcement is trying to ban the practice. Some Democrats and other critics say the advance of anti-critical racial theory was motivated by a deep fear of white conservatives about changing racial consciousness in the US and an unwillingness to grapple with how the legacy of slavery is manifesting itself today.

An important question is what long-term impact these bills will have – whether they end up being mostly symbolic acts to stimulate GOP campaigns or actually transform the teaching of millions of students permanently.

Academics are concerned about the “chilling effect” these bills will have on teachers as Republican lawmakers “outdo each other to pass the most extreme laws,” said Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Acadia University who pursued the bills. He worries that teachers are already making changes to courses and readings to avoid potential parent backlash and before legislation is passed.

Sachs said he believed people “don’t take the scale of this threat seriously” and that it is a mistake to dismiss parents’ concerns by denying that teachers understand the way they are in about the persistence of systemic racism teach the US, not change. He pointed to the former Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe’s Comments during the 2021 gubernatorial race as the wrong approach. McAuliffe said that Outrage at the theory is a “made-up racist dog whistle” never taught in Virginia schools.

“A better answer is to highlight how dangerous and extreme some of these laws are and the dire consequences of teachers working in a climate of fear,” he said.

Much of the action in statehouses over the past year has focused on banning the teaching of certain “divisive” concepts in classrooms. The conservative vitriol was directed against the “1619 Project,” a major New York Times feature on the roots of American slavery that is a popular right-wing target and raises some questions from historians.

A legal year in Oklahama, which served as a template for other states, forbids teaching that anyone “is naturally racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” or that they should feel “malaise, guilt, fear, or anything else.” Form of psychological distress ”due to their race or gender.

Going forward, the legislative initiative will extend not only to banning certain teachings, but also to giving parents better oversight of the K-12 curriculum, politicizing school board races, and rejecting books that critics consider too controversial than to be exposed to young children.

And in some places the legislature also wants to rely on public colleges and universities. For example, a Wisconsin bill would prohibit employees from attending training courses that “promote racial or gender stereotypes.” Similar bills are pending in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky.

The legislative movement was stimulated by conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Goldwater Institute. Some groups have authored exemplary legislative texts for state lawmakers, such as the Center for Renewing America, a right-wing not-for-profit organization founded by Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget under former President Donald Trump.

The issue gained momentum after several forces collided: frustration of many parents over school closings during the pandemic and conservative backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement. With millions of students studying virtually from home, parents got a better look at the classrooms – and some were dissatisfied with what they saw.

Tennessee was one of the first states to enact such laws last year, and the state’s Education Commission recently passed guidelines increasing fines on large school districts that violate the new federal law.

It remains to be seen how many complaints the state will receive about alleged violations, but the board rejected the first in November: a claim by far-right group Moms for Liberty that a literacy curriculum used by at least 30 school districts was “heavily biased.” Agenda ”that makes children“ hate their country, each other and / or themselves ”.

The group’s particular concern was four books on subjects such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. March on Washington and Ruby Bridges, who were among the first black children to desegregate New Orleans.

Rashawn Ray, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said this movement can be explained by some parents who wanted to prevent their children from learning inconvenient truths about U.S. history, information that could then inspire students through to push for the dismantling of certain systems of racial justice.

“These are economic, social and cultural privileges that the people who embody these views of white supremacy are reluctant to give up,” said Ray.

“We broke out an ideological civil war that spread to our children’s classrooms,” he said. “It is the struggle for America’s democratic future that will control future elections.”

In Texas, district officials threatened to withhold federal CARES funding from two school districts over concerns about “inappropriate” books in school libraries. Funds were eventually released, but on condition that schools conduct a review of certain books. These districts had already torn 11 books after a year-long parental review.

“Parents should be able to say, ‘Yes, not only do I want to know which textbooks are used, but what the subjects are and what you are teaching my child.’ Said Jonathan Butcher, Heritage Foundation education expert. “Especially when it comes to the roots of American democracy and how we talk about race issues.”

The proposed legislation in South Carolina, which is expected to be considered in Parliament, is in part the result of several parenting groups formed last year who examined course materials and found books in libraries they thought were for some children were unsuitable.

The bill, which specifically bans the 1619 Project’s teaching, would require schools to post lesson lists like books, essays, and articles – and provide parents with opportunities to connect with schools. It would also prohibit school workers from attending diversity training and the teaching of certain “principles” such as “that any gender, race, ethnicity, religion, color or national origin is inherently superior or inferior”. Schools may be deprived of state funds if they violate this rule.

“Parents have been awakened across the country,” said State Representative Bill Taylor, sponsor of the bill.

“School districts and schools tend to talk about parenting involvement, but they’re not too excited when they understand – it’s kind of ‘we know best,'” he said. “This attitude must be broken down.”

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